SDJC Death Valley Jeep Trip

My wife Patti and nephew cancelled out on this 2019 three day Death Valley jeep trip with the San Diego Jeep Club (SDJC) also known as the Rick Henton Memorial Day Run. So here cheerfully submitted is my trip write up to all.

Before and after General Store. Maybe one day it will become a Family Dollar if the mine makes a comeback.

The plan was to meet and camp out at Ballarat, (Trona) California, ghost town on day one of four. Days two and three Death Valley and Panamint, California.

In the span of a three day Veterans Day weekend we visited several ghost and mining towns, some not all partook of the homemade moonshine, and I unfortunately missed out on some prime rib going around.

The jeep group visited and explored places like the Barker Ranch where Charles Manson was captured; we attempted and partially succeeded in a potluck dinner after getting threatened with $240 tickets by a park ranger for parking, potlocking and possibly harassing a fifth wheel camper out of their turn about on their private camp spot culdesac. More to this story than times allow.

We came across and conquered Titus canyon with a fair amount of dust raising and we almost got to visit Ubehebe Crater – as was planned.

Apart from a visiting Trailhawk from Arizona aka Renegade Jeep that caught an errant rock this busting a rear differential and needed a real jeep towing – the trip was damage and mechanically free for all courtesy of Rick Henton.

An extremely well planned and executed outing with a salute out to the clubs Trail boss – Mike Mattern.

Years ago I helped a friend deliver a 50 foot powerboat to San Diego. When we finally arrived and walked up the dock to the gate there stood a sign declaring that this yacht club was the friendliest yacht club in all of San Diego.

What is it about San Diego? My exact thoughts about the SDJC – by far the best and also the friendliest!

This Veterans Day weekend was my first outing with the San Diego Jeep Club and let me say that the founder, leadership and present board can be extremely proud of its current membership and the way a newcomer is made to feel.

At least half a dozen new first time members made this club run. I believe I counted twenty four jeeps including three Renegade Trailhawk jeeps.

The first day had us mingling with miners and mule team drivers. Correct. The miners hobby was to go in and explore old mines. These guys were the loudest campers but, played some good music – after once again cheating death after their mine outings.

The mule team drivers unbeknownst to the rest of us were on hand to partake in a twenty horse team or more mule team wagon recreation event for the tourist.

If you are not familiar twenty mule teams were teams of eighteen mules and two horses attached to large wagons that transported borax out of Death Valley from 1883 to 1889.

I started to hitch mymojito jeep to the wagon to see how easy it pulled but, old age seems to be mellowing me out.

In the old days your laundry soap to get to you first traveled from mines across the Mojave Desert to the nearest railroad spur, 165 miles (275 km) away in Mojave. The routes were from the Harmony and Amargosa Borax Works to Daggett, California, and later Mojave, California.

After Harmony and Amargosa shut down in 1888, the mule team’s route was moved to the mines at Borate, 3 miles east of Calico, back to Daggett.

There they worked from 1891 until 1898 when they were replaced by the Borate and Daggett Railroad.

And now I’m home, the jeep is clean inside and outside, the belly is fed and I’m also clean. So why travel all that distance to join like minded people with like minded jeeps? Must be something still in us from days gone by and the pioneering spirit that built this country. I unfortunately never got a chance to meet Rick Henton but, you can be sure that his spirit was with us this 2019 Veterans Day as we continue to honor our military veterans who serve and served in our nation’s armed forces.

God bless America

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